Reverse Engineering the Amen Break - Score-informed Separation and Restoration applied to Drum Recordings

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First, we provide audio examples for the decomposition of the “Amen Break” into it's constituent drum sound events. This particular breakbeat stems from the song “Amen, Brother”, which was recorded in 1969 by “The Winstons” - a Funk and Soul band based in Washington D.C. After 86 seconds into the song, drummer G. C. Coleman plays this four-bar drum solo in 4/4 time at about 140 BPM, using mainly kick drum, snare drum and the ride cymbal. The first two bars are basically repetitions of a conventional Funk drum pattern. In the second half of the third bar, things become more interesting. There, the listener's expectation of another repetition is deliberately broken and syncopation is used to shift accentuated snare hits into the offbeat.

If you scroll further down, there are examples for the creative re-use of the drum sound components extracted this way. Please note that the breakbeat was decomposed into 4 components, the crash cymbal has been mixed back together with the ride cymbal for the sake of compactness.

Decomposition: Amen Break


Next, we present cross-synthesis remixes of other breakbeats using single drum sounds extracted from the “Amen Break” as shown above. The selection of appropriate drum hits from the body of all extracted sound events is achieved by a simple matching procedure. In both, the source and the target breakbeat, we store the relative L1-norms at the onset times in all components. Since we have four components, this yields four-dimensional L1-tuples which we compare by means of the L1-distance. The drum sound with the smallest distance is selected, so we automatically have a mapping of the relative intensities and can prevent unnatural repetitions of drum sounds.

Remix: Ode to Amen


Remix: Amen Taxi


Remix: ABC, Brother


Legal notice

The audio examples used on this page are given for educational purposes only. If any legal problems occur, please contact us. Any content that allegedly infringes the copyright of a third party will be removed upon request by the copyright holder.